William Henry Stewart
Son of George W. & Frances Stewart
1863 - 1932
WILLIAM HENRY was the first child of GEORGE WASHINGTON & FRANCES P. STEWART. His brothers were named ALFORD, PINK , and LUCIUS . He had 5 sisters CARRIE, CORINTHIA, VIOLA, MARY ALICE, and BERTA. William was called by his middle name HENERY (HENRY) STEWART. Henry was born during the Civil War. At the time of his birth, records shows that G.W. is identified as a Sgt. in Company B. of the 20th Texas Calvary. By 1870, Henry has moved with his family to Bell County. His father’s occupation there is listed as an Wagon Maker. By 1880 the family has moved to Henderson County, Texas. There his father is working on the railroad.
Henry marries his beloved spouse LAURA HARRELL on the 9th day of September 1885 in Tom Green County, Texas by “The Fightin Parson” the Reverend Andrew Jackson Potter. Laura is at the age of about 18 and Henry is 22. Laura’s parents are EPHRAIM H. & ANNA HARRELL. Records shows Ephraim and his family are in Robertson County, Texas in 1880. By 1882 Laura sees the destruction and many deaths of the Ben Fickland Flood in Tom Green County. She remembers finding 15 gold coins near the river bank. This was a special number to Laura as Laura remembered the coins being 15 which was the same number as her age. Laura’s siblings are known to have been MARY JANE, MELVINA LAFAYETTE, JOE and LIZZIE HARRELL .
Henry & Laura moves to Brown county by 1887. There they have their first born son, JOE HENRY STEWART. 1893 this union has one daughter OLLIE LOU STEWART; which also was born in Texas. In the year of 1890 in Gillespie County, Texas, Henry and Laura has their 3rd child, LEE STEWART. MATTIE ELIZABETH STEWART is their 4th. child. She was born in Texas abt.1896. NETTIE PEARL STEWART is their 5th child. She is born just 45 days from the turn of the century on November 16, 1899. November 10, 1903 another son appears. This son is WILLIAM ALBERT STEWART. He’s born in Tom Green County, Texas on the Fort Concho grounds (in the southeast corner) . Now, Henry & Laura has 3 sons & 3 daughters. Records shows that on August 07, 1907 the family has moved to Leaday, Texas, there their daughter MAMIE FRANCES STEWART is born. MAUDIE LEE STEWART their last child is born in Menard, Texas, Menard County on June 01, 1909.
Henry provided for the needs of his family in many ways. He had worked with his father, G.W. as a blacksmith. Henry used those blacksmith skills to bring in much needed income. When income was short. He dove for pearls ( Concho Pearls) Perhaps the love of the beautiful Concho Pearl prompted him to give his beloved daughter the name of Nettie Pearl. He was also a game hunter & fisherman. He always was known to have been able to hunt & kill more game than was needed by his family. With this extra game, he also supplemented their income by selling the meat or trading for their many needed provisions. Henry was also known to be a cabinet maker. The Stewart family remembers his many accomplished skills. He also made musical instruments. To this day some family members still have instruments made by him . Family time was filled with shared hardships, love & music. But Henry’s true love was not just for his family but for God’s many creations. He loved the wilds of Texas and it’s wonderful wildlife. Henry saw many changes in his life. He witnessed the coming of the railroad, the automobile, even airplanes. He saw the effects of World War I. The days ahead for Henry and Laura would greatly change. The days for pioneer life was fading. The depression brought forth no jobs, no money, little food but Henry & Laura still scrounged to meet the needs of the family. Henry’s luxury was his tobacco. Family members recalls that Henry was a man of little words. Laura was the keeper of the family’s income. Money was scarce and Laura kept the money close to her in her purse tied to her neck. Henry asked for money for his tobacco and Laura ignored his proposal. Family members remembered that Henry requested no more but quickly took out his knife and with a whip of his wrist he cut the bag from Laura’s neck and removed her purse. Then he gently took out only the tobacco money and gave her purse back. For once Laura was a woman of little words. No more was said. Another story reveals that Henry seemed fearless to the many dangers of the wilds. But he was terribly afraid of storms. At the latter part of his life Henry had a stroke, he was paralyzed in one arm. Henry was so worried about securing a safe place for the family during storms that he found an old shovel with a broken handle. He used the shovel and dug with the one good arm a storm cellar for the family. To the end he was a man that tried to take care of his family the best that he knew how .
Laura was one the true pioneer wives of the 19th century. Laura had to learn many survival skills to take care of her self and her 8 children, while she was alone with the children. With Henry constistly yielding to the constant call of the wild, Laura was alone much of the time. She kept herself busy, providing the best that she could for her family. She busied herself in the care of the garden, feeding the stock, quilting, caring for the children, cooking & cleaning. She, too enjoyed playing the guitar. Henry and Laura taught their children many musical skills. These skills and the love of music were passed on through the many oncoming generations. Henry & Laura were some of our early pioneers. Both worked together and sometimes they worked apart. Times were hard, even the land at times was unyielding. Their focus was living the best that they could one day at a time. They pushed on to bring the family together and fulfill the family’s many needs .
Laura died in Ballinger, Texas, Runnels county on November 11, 1930. She is buried in the northwest corner of the Evergreen Cemetery. She lived to be about 66 years of age. Henry died April 05, 1932 in San Angelo, Texas. He is buried in the Fairmount Cemetery. His tombstone is in the shape of a little house. It is made out of concrete. His name has been etched out on his concrete marker. He died at the age of 68. He lived less than 2 years after his beloved Laura’s death .
Henry & Laura must be remembered
as a young couple in love fighting the wilderness to bring to each of us a
better life. For this we should always respect and remember them not only as
pioneers but as people with dreams, having hardships, sometimes facing
heartbreak, sometimes defeat but always reaching for us a better life. For
this we will always thank you .
In Loving Memory ,
Evelyn Owens ( Granddaughter )
I would like to summit this biography of William
Henry Stewart (my grandfather) & Laura Harrell Stewart (my grandmother ).
My Father William Albert Stewart died in 1996 in San Angelo, Texas. He was the
last living sibling of Henry & Laura. The Stewart Family has many
descendants in San Angelo still. If you are interested in using this biography
I will summit if needed a photo of them, or San Angelo Newspaper clipping
1885 , or 1885 marriage license. I am doing this in respect to the many gates of
the preservation of our County's past.
In Sincerity & respect,
( grandaughter )
Submitted by Evelyn Owens on September 27, 2001.